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Hard courts combine for Brisbane
July 7, 2006
THE Australian men's and women's hard court tennis championships will both be played in Brisbane from 2009.
The men's event will move from Adelaide and the women's from the Gold Coast to a new $77 million tennis centre being built at Tennyson in Brisbane's south-west. The combined tournament will be a lead-in event to the annual Australian Open in Melbourne in January.
Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood said the change of venues for both tournaments enabled the events to be combined.
"The worldwide trend in tennis is moving towards more and more combined tournaments where the public get to see the top men and women playing in the one venue," he said.
"Today's announcement ensures the future growth of both tournaments in this changing world environment for tennis and will strengthen the attraction to top players of preparing here in Australia prior to the Australian Open."
The decision to switch the men's event from Adelaide is a devastating blow to the South Australian government and Tennis South Australia.
Their tournament at Memorial Drive in Adelaide has been won by players who later went on to claim grand slam titles, including hometown hero Lleyton Hewitt, who won his first ATP Tour title there as a 16-year-old.
Wood said Tennis Australia will be working together with Tennis SA and the SA government to investigate alternative ways to continue to provide opportunities for top-level tennis to be seen by the South Australian tennis public.
"The events in Adelaide and the Gold Coast have increased in popularity in recent years thanks to the efforts of a number of talented and dedicated individuals, including staff at the local associations, the respective tournament directors, sponsors, government agencies and volunteers.
"Their efforts to help grow the sport, and to stage memorable tournaments for the public year on year, is to be commended."
Tennis SA president Bill Cossey said the organisation was disappointed to lose the men's event.
"At the same time, we understand the changes in the world calendar with the increasing threats to our domestic circuit from overseas tournaments," Cossey said.
"Unfortunately, Adelaide is currently in no position to sustain a combined event at Memorial Drive."
He said Tennis SA would work with the state government and Tennis Australia to investigate options for staging any events beyond 2009.